On Tuesday, May 22, nine protesters were killed in brawls with authorities over the Sterlite Copper smelter plant. The plant is operated by the London based mining company, Vedanta Resources. Residents of Tuticorin, a port city in India, argue that the plant is polluting groundwater and causing other environmental damage. Vedanta has responded and said that it abides by environmental standards in place. The protests increased in severity after the protesters set the office of a local administrator ablaze after they had denied the protesters’ request to rally at the plant. The leader of the Indian National Congress party said that the protesters were gunned down by the police. A police officer responded that they opened fire because their attempts to disperse the crowd with tear gas and baton charges proved futile. The state’s chief minister has ordered an inquiry into the shooting.
Democratic Republic of Congo
On Wednesday, May 16, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health minister said that the Ebola outbreak in the country has entered a “new phase” after spreading to Wangata, a city of 1.2 million people. This new case is raising concerns over the ability to control the virus. As of Thursday, a total of 45 cases have been reported and there have been 25 deaths. Despite this, the World Health Organization remains positive about its ability to treat the virus, stating that they “have better tools than ever to combat Ebola.” The UN agency is collaborating with other organizations to establish treatment and isolation centers.
On Friday, May 18, all the Catholic Bishops in Chile, which included 31 active bishops and three retired bishops, offered to resign after Chile’s sex abuse scandal. This followed a three-day emergency summit at the Vatican to review the scandal. Pope Francis organized the summit after receiving a 2,300-page report that investigated the sexual abuse perpetrated by Chilean priests. The report revealed that the Bishop of Osorno Juan Barros had knowingly covered up the abuses. In May, Pope Francis met with the victims of the Church abusers and asked for their forgiveness. There is no indication of whether or not Pope Francis will accept the resignations.
On Saturday, May 19, Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle got married at St. George’s Chapel. The newlyweds will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The new Duchess wore a simple and classically styled dress designed by Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy. More than 28 million people watched the televised event worldwide. The beloved new duchess is smashing several stereotypes being American, biracial, a divorcee and an actress. Because of this, their wedding was a cause of celebration for many, as it was the most diverse royal wedding in British history. The wedding was applauded on social media and many described the ceremony as an example of “black excellence.”
On Saturday, May 19, dozens of African refugees, believed to be from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Cape Verde, were rescued by fisherman off the northern coast of Brazil. The migrants are believed to have been traveling 35 days at sea and many of them had gone several days without food and water. Two Brazilians who were on the boat and had allegedly been paid to ferry the refugees into the country illegally, have been arrested. The rescued refugees are currently receiving treatment and will later be questioned by Brazil’s navy. With European countries strengthening their borders, many refugees are forced to seek elsewhere to migrate. Increasingly, Africans are finding refuge in Latin America, specifically Brazil. The refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa are fleeing war and poverty.